EPBC used to protect cassowary

Very good news to see Peter Garrett using his powers under the federal environment law to stop a housing development at Mission Beach in far north Queensland.  I have mentioned a few times on this blog – particularly  this piece back in 2005 – about the continuing and growing threat to the cassowary and the wet tropics rainforest in general from ongoing clearing for development, particularly in and around Mission Beach. I am also pleased to see the federal environment law, the EPBC Act, being used in this way, as I copped a lot of flack from some in the Greens and some in the environment movement for helping bring this law into being.  If I hadn’t have done so, there is no way Peter Garrett would have had the power to do what he has just done, so I am doubly pleased to see it being put to good use in this way.

This link goes to the Minister’s release detailing the decision.

Like & share:


  1. Peter Garrett has acted to protect the “world’s most dangerous bird“, the disemboweling & bone breaking cassowary!

    Good to see the honorable Minister for Plastic Bags finally “seriously and unusually” achieving something by “ruling a development out completely“.

    Now if we could just get some runs on the board for his chairman captain.

    For interested readers, here’s a local cassowary recipe that I believe would be popular with ex WW2 diggers who were warned (to no avail) to beware of these birds.

    (All in good fun as I’m sure there will be many a concerned cassowary lover both here, and within the Minister’s constituency).

  2. So GZG, because the bird can be dangerous means it shouldn’t be protected?

    Does that mean we (as humanity) should not protect the hippopotamus – well known to be dangerous?

  3. Lighten up Muzzmonster! No need to be so feral about matters pertaining to animals.

    I did say “all in good fun” but having said that, I’ve no particular desire to see all dangerous animals wiped out (but will happily kill any wasp at home, in a nervous sort of way).

    Not intending to apply the following just forged alliance to the sacred cassowary, being one of “we humanity”, I’m on the side of “people houses” rather than “hippo homes” or “Wallum Sedge Frog ponds”.

  4. Sorry if I took your post too seriously GZG. Am getting fed up with people on blogs making seemingly silly comments

  5. The ministers decision has united a shell shocked community as local residents have watched in horror the bulldozers’ wake of destruction on essential cassowary habitat pushing the endangered casssowary even closer to extinction. A new amalgamated council and federal environmnet minister is giving the Mission Beach community hope that developers will no longer do as they will with this special place. We just hope it is not to late.

  6. GZG – but seriously, in all likelihood there are fewer than 1000 cassawories left in Australia.

    This is a little outside my arenas of expertise, but my understanding is that the cassawory is a specialist disperser of quite a few rainforest plants. And that at least some of those plants will not germinate unless their seeds have passed through the gut of a cassawory. Hence, fewer cassawories equates to a change in the composition of Australian tropical rainforests.

    Essentially, if the cassawory beomes very rare or extinct in Australia, the nature of our tropical rainforests will change, and those changes are more than likely to be adverse.

  7. The shell shocked residents are, I would suspect more interested in preserving their idyllic lifestyle than the cassowary, and I say why not – good luck to them.

  8. Ken:

    I’ve never read a comment so unbirdworthy.

    Surely the cassowary is entitled to at least a portion of the rainforest, but I don’t think I’d like to cross beaks with it, if what GZG says is true.

    As for the recipe, there were only signs revealing life and death, which didn’t seem too tasty to me.

  9. I read recently,I think New Scientist, that the Chinese are building huts for Pandas,and the problem of falling populations was more dependent on a sheltered place to give birth than the bamboo type.Obviously, the Pandas must be using their eyesight as well as other senses to find suitable accommodation.Applying what ever can be garnered as common sense protection of a species like the Cassowary ,surely must be about how these birds perceive realities including human matters around them.You cannot really work from the other end effectively.That is decide this and that is their territory when, in fact, what is known about the sensing of the environment by the bird seems very limited..or not applied in an accurate way.With other birds attacking their own reflections off glass windows,etc., one could hope for intelligent pattern designs,or whatever,as a means similar to traffic signs for humans.That may not seem a valid approach, until by experiment .But ,it maybe , an adequate approach,if it keeps birds and humans etc. out of harms way.Locals could be paid for their observations and concern,in a spirit of scientific understanding.

  10. An update on the situation at Mission Beach and the dire situation facing the cassowary population. I worked as the submission writer for the local conservation group C4, http://www.cassowaryconservation.asn.au on the Lot 66 development proposal which Peter Garrett deemed ‘clearly unacceptable’ last year. The developers have reapplied with an altered plan which is equally unnacceptable in the only robust corridor that gives reasonably unhindered movement to the large block of coastal lowland rainforest for the known cassowary family relying on the habitat for their survival.

    This development must not go ahead and we will be lobbying hard for the Minister to make a firm committment to the cassowaries at Mission Beach. We are asking for a buy back of this block. The development proposal has just been posted on the Federal Environment referrals webpage and is open for comment for 10 working days from today. Please follow the link and let the Environment Department know that this block needs to be secured in perpetuity by the Federal Government and clearing of any essential cassowary habitat at Mission Beach must stop now before it is too late. . The cassowaries at Mission Beach need all the help you can give them.
    Please pass this on to as many people as you can.


  11. Mr Garrett has decided to assess the new development application under the EPBC Act as a ‘Controlled Action’ requiring a Public Environment Report. I am not sure about the ‘PER’ but to date the Controlled action process has not given Mission Beach an acceptable outcome in regard to any development approvals undere the Act. He could have said no to this one on the strength of the evidence against it and the proponents environmental record and shown his committment to cassowaries at Mission Beach. After all the work that has been done and been achieved for the environment at Mission Beach over the past 20 years by the local environment organisation C4 I am now beginning to despair for the future of our high biodiversity area. We have a Land Gift Fund for securing cassowary habitat in perpetuity. This is a plea for help to save the cassowary at Mission Beach. Please visit http://www.cassowaryconservation.asn.au

Comments are closed.